A series of observations with the phase contrast microscope on the occurrence of a complex life cycle in the pathogenic Treponema pallidum as it occurs in the syphilitic rabbit testis has been presented and it seems likely from these observations that there are two means of vegetative reproduction, consisting of (1) transverse division (the most important under usual conditions); and (2) the production of gemmae or buds which eventuate into unispirochetal cysts comparable to those described for saprophytic forms, within each of which single spirochetes develop and differentiate, and from which they subsequently emerge.
In addition preliminary evidence is presented which suggests that a more complex process is involved in which multispirochetal cysts develop following aggregation of two or more organisms. Within each of these larger cysts numerous organisms develop and subsequently emerge as tangled ropes. Following emergence, they subsequently undergo transverse division and gemmae formation, and so reproduce vegetatively. Subsequent papers will elaborate upon these processes.